Photo Credit: PC / Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press
Quebec, Canada- Sikh players are no longer limited to playing soccer in their backyards. They are back on the soccer field. Over a year of disappoints and dreams crushed for about 200 soccer players in Quebec, Canada, has ended in victory as the Quebec Soccer Federation (QSF) has lifted their ban on the patka during soccer games.
UNITED SIKHS team led the advocacy to revoke this ban for over a year. Constant contact with the affected families as well as lawmakers were included in the efforts. About two weeks prior to the decision, UNITED SIKHS Directors Sukhwinder Singh and Ranbir Singh, along with UNITED SIKHS community advocate Deepinder Singh met with the Hon. Bal Gosal, Canadian Minister of Sports, at his office in Brampton, Ontario, to discuss the ban on patkas and turbans by QSF. During their meeting, the team was encouraged to continue their efforts by the Minister and assured that he will assist in driving the message of eliminating religious barriers being set by QSF.
UNITED SIKHS led the advocacy with:
– June 2012- QSF issued ban on patka in June 2012
– June 2012- June 2013 Persistent contact with the affected families
– June 7th, 2013 – Coordinated with Canadian Ministers exclusively, including Minister of Sports Bal Gosal for lifting the ban on the Patka in Quebec
– Reached out to various soccer clubs and other soccer associations in Canada and UK to seek support about the ban
– Circulated statements made by International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) which clearly states its ruling to allow the Hijab and Patka on field
– Lobbied directly with the Prime Minister’s office about the ban
– June 14th, 2013- Further clarification from FIFA about specific instructions on the Patka during a soccer game were issued. These specifications includes that the patka should not be hanging one over the neck, should be neatly tied tightly, and the color should be matching the uniform of the club.
– June 15th, 2013- QSA lifted the ban of the Patka for Sikh players
UNITED SIKHS Team would like to thank the all of our supporters and those who helped us out in the fight against the ban including: Canadian Minister of Sports Bal Gosal, Councilor Mary Deros (Villeray—Saint-Michel—Parc-Extension), Conseillère de la Ville, Membre du comité exécutif, Indépendant (IND)-), Narinder Singh Minhas , Surjit Singh and Rupinder Singh (Sikh Vision Association). Our appreciation is extended to the Sangat of Montreal as well.
The fight for revoking the ban brought solidarity and support across Canada and the world. “The best outcome of all this is many of our fellow supporters and parents from other ethnic backgrounds withdrew their children from playing soccer under protest we should identify them and honor them,” said UNITED SIKHS community advocate Deepinder Singh.
A ‘Soccer in Solidarity’ event, will take place at Marcel-Laurin Park (2345 Boulevard Thimens, St-Laurent, H4R 1T4) from 2:30PM until 7:30PM, on June 23, 2013. The event will be a soccer match, with participants of all religious, class, creed, and gender affiliations.
UNITED SIKHS along with other organizations will celebrate this grand victory on Canada Day, July 1st. There will be an exhibition soccer match and UNITED SIKHS will sponsor a trophy along with WISE. All are invited to this celebration. Details will be available on UNITED SIKHS Facebook Page.
UNITED SIKHS continues to encourage you to practice your religion to the freely. Fighting for religious accommodation is a daunting task because of the vagaries of national and international laws, but UNITED SIKHS will continue, nation by nation, to promote and protect Sikh articles of faith.
For UNITED SIKHS to continue its efforts (both domestically and internationally), we need your assistance, so please donate. You may donate online or in person to a UNITED SIKHS chapter near you. For details of our chapters, please visit our contact page.
Director, UNITED SIKHS Canada
223B-2980 Drew Road
Mississauga Ontario L4T-0A7
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